Frequently Asked Questions for The Carolina Belle & Carolina Queen Tours

Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?

Advance purchase is highly recommended and Charleston harbor tours often sell out in advance. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets for harbor tours and Charleston sailing tours can be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.

What type of ticket should I buy if I’m bringing a very young child?

We have reduced price tickets for children ages 4 to 11. Children ages 3 and younger are free with an accompanying Adult ticket.

What exactly do we see on the Charleston boat tours?

You will see the profile from the water of one of the oldest cities in the United States. Specific sites you’ll see and hear about include:

  • The stately homes along the Battery
  • Customs House
  • South Carolina State Ports Authority
  • Churches (including the white steeple of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church)
  • The three forts (Moultrie, Sumter, and Johnson)
  • Patriot’s Point (the home of the Yorktown, the famous “Fighting Lady” of World War II)
  • Charleston’s landmark Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge.

Is the viewing equally good on both levels of the vessel?

Yes, you will have a panoramic view from either level.

What happens if it rains?

The harbor cruises take place rain or shine, regardless of weather conditions. The Carolina Belle has a glassed-in, enclosed observatory and the upper deck is also partially covered and The Carolina Queen also has an enclosed deck, so you’ll be able to get great views of Charleston harbor’s famous sights in any weather!

Are The Carolina Belle & The Carolina Queen covered?

Yes, The Carolina Belle has two decks – A glassed-in “Main Salon,” which is climate controlled and an “Observation Deck,” each providing spectacular views of Charleston Harbor. The Observation Deck is open, however, it does have some roof-covered space.

The Carolina Queen, on the other hand, has a glassed-in observatory, as well as a partially covered deck, and an open deck (3 levels).

Can I buy food or drinks on board?

There is a snack bar aboard The Carolina Belle & The Carolina Queen. Both bars have soda, bottled water, wine, beer, chips, hot dogs, candy bars, cookies, etc. If you’d like to purchase items from the snack bar, you can pay either cash or credit (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover).

Can I bring my own food or drinks on board?

No, we ask you not to bring any food or drinks on board. You will be able to purchase food and drinks at our snack bar.

Does the tour run year-round?

No, the public Charleston harbor tour runs from mid-February through Thanksgiving.

What should I wear?

Please dress appropriately for the weather conditions. Keep in mind that the temperature on the water is significantly lower than on land, so you may want to bring a sweater in the cooler months.

Are there any stops along the way?

No, there are no stops.

Are the harbor boat tours safe?

The Carolina Belle & The Carolina Queen are safe vessels with a normal operating crew of three or four, depending on the number of passengers. They are certified for 300 hundred passengers to cruise the inland waterways, harbors and tributaries by the USCG and meet all the US Coast Guard safety requirements.

Will I get seasick?

The Carolina Belle is a steady 85-foot vessel with classic lines. The Charleston harbor has a mild atmosphere and it is unlikely that you will feel much movement aboard the boat. If you often feel seasick, you may want to consider some light medication before beginning the trip. We cannot officially advise you to take any medication, however.

Is the trip handicapped and wheelchair accessible?

We will do our best to accommodate disabled people to the extent that our vessel, staff, and docking space will allow. The boat has an upper deck and a lower deck, and the only way to get between the two is by stairs. Though we normally board and disembark from the upper level, there are some days when we have to disembark from the level opposite the one we boarded. On days when we must board the boat on the lower deck, passengers will have to use the stairs in order to get to the restrooms (which are only located on the upper deck), and could potentially have to use the stairs for disembarking. The restrooms on board are not wheelchair accessible but there are handrails in all restrooms. Additionally, there are fully handicapped accessible restrooms located in the Charleston Maritime Center, right near where The Carolina Belle boards.

If I am handicapped, should I notify the Charleston Harbor Tour crew before I board the boat?

Yes. Please ask about the tide and how you will be boarding and disembarking on the day of your tour if you are concerned about this. Our crew will be able to tell you what the tides are like that day, as well as whether or not you will be able to board on and disembark from the same level. They will assist you as much as they can, but if the tides are uncooperative and you feel unable to attend or uncomfortable doing so, then we will gladly reschedule your tour to a different time. Refunds, however, will still not be granted in this situation.

Are the harbor cruises narrated?

The Carolina Belle harbor tours are fully narrated; however, The Carolina Queen tours are not narrated.

Do we see dolphins and other sealife or birdlife?

We often catch a glimpse of dolphins skimming the surface as they feed or a pelican as he nose dives into the water in search of a tasty tidbit.

Are there restrooms aboard the boats?

Yes, the boats are equipped with clean restrooms.

Are gift certificates available harbor tours?

Yes, gift certificates for Charleston Harbor Tours are great for any occasion. To purchase a gift certificate, call our office at 843.722.1112.

Can I book a private trip?

Yes! We can accommodate a variety of special requests. Contact our Sales Manager at or call 843.722.1112 today to discuss a customized package for your specific needs.